PRESIDENTIAL wannabe Rodrigo Duterte said at the latest presidential debates that he had long dreamed to be a hero. One issue he cited where he could perform a heroic act is in pressing for the Philippine claim to the Spratly Islands (Kalayaan Island Group) that are now occupied by China.
He reiterated his earlier statement that as president, he is most willing to go to China and discuss the issue. This is a departure from the present stand of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations against bilateral talks on the Spratly dispute. He had also said that if he’s the president, he’s amenable to dropping the claim over the Spratly and other contested islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) once China agrees to build railroads in the Philippines.
Oh, how can he be a hero if he would readily yield Philippine territory in exchange for a railroad system? Well, our crime-buster had another thing in mind that could enhance his dream of becoming a hero. He noted at the debate that the Philippines has a pending petition (before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea). He said that if the Philippines wins that case and China refuses to accept the ruling, then he will personally go to the Spratlys and plant the Philippine flag there.
And how will he go to the Spratlys? Filipino fishermen had been unable to go there because of heavy patrols by well-armed ships of the Chinese navy. Well, Duterte has a ready answer which shows the brain and brawn of a true hero. He’ll go to the Spratly on a jet ski!
James Bond had avoided detection by enemies by using fast boats and then diving underwater to reach the targeted island. Duterte will do James Bond one better by using jet ski. Why, James Bond had never thought of using a jet ski before? And James Bond is supposed to be a cerebral hero!
Oh, but what is the longest round-trip that a jet ski can travel? Can one use a jet ski to go from the outermost tip of our locally held island to the nearest Spratly islet and back, which could be about 500 kilometers long?
I can imagine Duterte making plans for his heroic mission to plant the Philippine flag in the Spratly. First, he has to make it as secret as possible to avoid detection. This means he would do away with the presidential security. How? Well, he can tell them that he’ll be on a tryst with a number of girl friends, or he’s out to kill single-handidly members of a criminal group that had just gang-raped a very beautiful foreigner. The nerve of those criminals raping a beauty without having the president first on the line!
“President” Duterte can’t use the presidential yacht for that will give away his presence so he takes a fishing boat up to the nearest point of the Spratly with his jet ski in tow. Then, he’ll drive to the island like a devil-may-care movie hero.
But, what if the noise of the jet ski and the radar of the Chinese Navy could immediately detect the approach of an unwelcome guest? The Chinese might send its speed boats and blast him with its water cannons. Oh, but our hero wouldn’t think of that possibility. Duterte might imagine that the Chinese would instead send a team of jet skiers too and chase him. Our hero, of course, will outrace them and then successfully plant the Philippine flag on the Spratly atoll.
The Philippine flag was already waving on the island when the huffing and puffing Chinese soldiers nabbed Duterte. One of them who grew up in the Philippines immediately recognized him and said in Tagalog: “P…… i.. mo Digong, ikaw pala!”
Duterte smiled at the use of the epithet he’s very familiar with. And then, the Chinese used another word that Duterte regularly used: “Papatayin kita!”
And that’s how Duterte would end up a hero if he’ll remain true to his word, like a man. His rabid followers will be singing praises of his heroic death even if what he had done was foolhardy.
Of course, this scenario will happen only in a dream if the electorate will see thru Duterte’s utter lack of vision for the country and reject him on May 9.